Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blog Tour + Giveaway! Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs


Title/Author: Powerless (The Hero Agenda #1) by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, June 2nd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Kenna is tired of being "normal". The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.

I personally really enjoyed Powerless, as it's another take on the superhero lore and that's always exciting to me :)
For this blog tour to celebrate the release of POWERLESS everyone is answering the question: “If I could have any superpower…” and below you'll find their very interesting answers!

Tracy Deebs, POWERLESS co-author

If I could have any superpower in the world, I would be a technopath. Anyone who knows me knows how absurd it is to imagine me as one—and just how grateful I would be if I had that power. I’m one of those people who actually repel technology. I can almost never get those soap dispensers or faucets that turn on when you wave your hands to work in the bathroom, my computers, smartphone, and tablet always do the most bizarre things imaginable, wherever I am technological things stop working, and I have the power to demagnetize hotel room keys (and my college cafeteria card) just by touching them. So, yes, being a technopath sounds pretty awesome to me …

Tera Lynn Childs, POWERLESS co-author

If I could have any superpower, I’d pick the ability to control the weather. First, I’d head to California and bring on a monsoon season of non-stop rain to end the mega-drought. Then I’d come home to Vegas and do a little tinkering with the seasons. Keep it under 100 in the summer, stay away from the below-freezing temps no one believes we actually get in the winter, and make sure that spring and fall are full of as many thunderstorms as possible. The more thunder, lightning, and rain, the better!

Learn more about Tera and Tracy at www.HeroAgenda.com.

***

Leah Scheier, author of YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR, describes her superhero alter-ego:

I am Celebrita and my super-power is the ability to morph into any celebrity. Naturally, I only use my powers for good. I'm not in it for the free Versace gowns, the private jets and the red carpet struts. Instead, I make myself available to the hardworking celebrity who can't handle getting up in the morning for an early shoot due to a rough night of partying. Sleep in, dear celebrity. I will be there for you, dressed entirely in saran wrap and diamonds. Stuck in rehab for a few weeks? Never fear, I'll appear in photo ops with orphans for your favorite charity functions.

Unfortunately, I have an evil twin named Paparazza. She has the same super power as I do, but she is armed with a selfie stick and insatiable greed. She is responsible for the great PR disaster stories: wardrobe malfunctions and public meltdowns, DWI arrests, and pretty much every Kim and Kanye appearance on record. A great reckoning is coming. Keep your eye on PEOPLE magazine…

Leah’s Sourcebooks Fire debut YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR releases in September. Learn more about this book at http://www.leahscheier.com/.

***

Zoraida Cordova, author of THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA

If I had a superpower it would be the ability to change into a mermaid... I'm sure this is not surprising! But I would make it my mission to discover the world's ocean. I would bring back all of my findings, and search out lost civilizations. Like Indiana Jones meets Ariel.

Pick up Zoriaida’s YA novel THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA available in trade paperback now. And contact the author on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/CordovaBooks.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Off To Thailand!


So this year the boyfriend and I have made the good life decision to go on vacation to Thailand! :) So we'll be enjoying the good life, good food and beautiful scenery as pictured above.
It is pretty hard to leave the kitty behind (we already dropped her off at the boyfriend's brother's house, it's SO quiet here at the moment), but we'll be back and then we'll just cuddle extra. Hopefully.

So this is me saying that the blog will be quiet for the next two weeks, cause I was going to be a good blogger and get some posts typed up before I left, but alas, preparation for the journey took longer than I thought it would (as always) and then I got a cold and that's been messing with my blogging mojo.

I wish you a happy two weeks!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Review of Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires by Sophie Barnes


Title/Author: Lady Sarah Sinful Desires (Secrets At Thorncliff Manor #1) by Sophie Barnes
Publisher/Date published: Avon Books, May 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Welcome to Thorncliff Manor, where London's elite mix, mingle, and may even find their heart's desire...

There are thousands of things Christopher, Viscount Spencer, would rather do than hunt for a bride, especially since experience has taught him that women are not to be trusted. Then he finds the intriguing Lady Sarah scrambling around in Thorncliff's conservatory and he is instantly charmed by her passionate nature. But why is she so intent on avoiding him?

Lady Sarah would make the perfect bride for a peer — if not for a tarnished past that she's hiding from the ton. A stay at Thorncliff Manor was meant to help her plan for her future, not fall in love. Yet Christopher's kisses are irresistible, his gallantry enticing. When her secret stands to be revealed, will the truth ruin their dreams of happiness?

So I was very much in need of a good historical romance when I started this book, and Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires did not disappoint!

I really like Sophie Barnes' writing style and I kinda liked that this wasn't set in London for a change. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE reading books set in London with all of the ton present and balls and calling on each other and EVERYTHING. But this setting of Thorncliff and the houseparty was very charming as well.

I liked Sarah, she's smart and funny and she has a pet hamster. I mean, hello, she's living in historical England and she has a PET HAMSTER. That is just awesome in my book. Also: hamsters are great pets, I had one myself when I was younger. She's obviously not made all the right choices in her past and back then you were judged harshly for that. By your parents as well as the rest of the world. She has a major sense of duty and loyalty to a family, that in my opinion doesn't deserve said loyalty. I was so wishing for just the teensiest bit of warmth or love to show from her father and stepmother, but there was ZERO affection there. I don't really understand this, I mean, sure I can get being angry with her at first, but after two years? Can you not get over this and try to give her a GOOD future instead of one with a hateful and disgusting man in it? That was some bad parenting right there.

But I did really like Christoper and Sarah together. They have great chemistry and banter and I loved to see them become friends and then something more. There's mutual respect and affection that grows naturally and I really liked seeing their lovestory unfold. I also thought Christopher's reaction to Sarah's secret was realistic. It wasn't perfect, but it felt real for the time they lived in.
And OMG, how much did I love Christopher's family! His sisters and his mom are perfection. They're the ultimate family, teasing each other, telling each other how it is, but there's so much heart there! I would have loved to spend even more time with them!

Sophie Barnes spins an interesting tale about a lady with a less than perfect past and how she goes on from there. Obviously there's a happily ever after, because this is a historical romance novel after all, but the road to getting to said happily ever after was very much enjoyable and there was a connection between Sarah and Christopher that made me root for them and that's basically what I want from a romance novel!

My rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler


Title/Author: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Date published: Simon Pulse, June 2nd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom — until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry — except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy — insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though — swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them...

So there's a reason why people are always like "EEEE! NEW BOOK BY SARAH OCKLER!!" And The Summer of Chasing Mermaids further confirms my opinion that it is a legit reason.

Sarah Ockler has a way of storytelling that just has me sucked into the story and made me feel like I was right there in the moment with all of these characters. She let me experience the pain Elyse was feeling and the disappointment, but also the hope that slowly creeps in. I was right there with her, and I love it when an author manages to put me IN the story instead of just on the sidelines. I loved Elyse for losing her voice and then finding it, and BECAUSE she's so obviously not perfect in her way of dealing with what happened. She's so much a human being that I could imagine walking into the room, grabbing my hand and telling me something with one of her Sharpies.

I loved the lyrical quality of Sarah Ockler's writing, and especially the voice she gives to Elyse. It was beautiful and at times I just wanted to savour the words. But I also needed very much to keep on reading to find out what was going to happen next, because there's a plot that is not just there as backdrop, it's a real, living thing, with vivid characters and a town that I could fall in love with. And even the characters that we never really 'meet', Elyse's family, are very much a real personality in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids.

But so much of my love goes out to the ones we do meet: Kirby, who becomes both a friend and another sister to Elyse and is a very bighearted person that I just want to hug. Christian, who is obviously the love interest and a beautiful one, who has so much love for his brother and turns out to have so much more depth than you would imagine. And Sebastian, Christian's adorable 6 (and a half!) year old brother, who believes in mermaids and doesn't think it's only girls who should get to dress up as them, he is the cutest little boy ever and I just wanted to cuddle him and read him stories forever.

There's a lot at stake with the Pirate Regatta, there's the town's future to think about and some ugly family stuff that made me sad for the people dealing with it. Throughout this summer, Elyse and the others discover a lot about themselves and others and it was truly beautiful to see them experience these things and grow because of it. This little town has a lot of heart.

Just like with The Book of Broken Heart, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is so much more than a cute contemporary read. It deals with loss, the loss of your dreams and a future that was within your grasp. Losing your voice and losing yourself. Losing the thing that you think defines you. But it also tells us about family, the good and the bad. About finding yourself, about accepting people for who they are and fighting for their right to be themselves. About friendship and love and everything. And I fiercely loved every minute of reading about all of these things.

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by my other blog The Broke and the Bookish

As I'm going on vacation next Tuesday (to Thailand, YAY!), here's what's on my list to read on one (or more) of their gorgeous beaches:

1. Valiant by Sarah McGuire: I found out late that the release date of this one had been moved up, so I'm reading it now, around its original release date. Also: YAY FAIRYTALE RETELLING!

2. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: seems fitting, as I read The Queen of the Tearling last year on vacation ;) Also, I think fantasy novels make for perfect beach reads.

3. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella: I LOVE Sophie Kinsella and I'm really curious about her first YA novel!

4. Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout: This sounds super cute! Boarding schools! And a comparison to Anna and the French Kiss! How can this possibly go wrong?

5. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi: there's been a lot of buzz about this one, and I'm really excited to read it! It sounds like it could be kinda awesome.

6. Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil: I read Get Even last year and really enjoyed it, this will serve as my Pretty Little Liars fix until it starts up again :)

7. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West: KASIE WEST! ULTIMATE BEACH OR ANYWHERE ELSE READ. ALWAYS.

8. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: I've heard this is amazing and steamy and this sounds like a perfect beach read to me. Or anywhere. Also: it's Sarah J. Maas, obviously I'm reading this as soon as possible. Quite possibly on the airplane, so there's not possibility of damaging it around sand/water/etc.

9. Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik: I like Claire LaZebnik's books and any adaptation of Emma will forever be read.

10. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: I've heard this is supercute and fluffy and happiness inducing. The only thing that will be missing if I read this on the beach, are Oreo's, cause I think it might be a little too hot for chocolate...

What's going to be in your beach bag? Tell me about your holiday plans!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review of Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos


Title/Author: Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos
Publisher/Date published: HMH Books for Young Readers, May 5th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?

So I'm a big fan of tv shows such as America's Next Top Model and Project Runway and all of those things. I'm fascinated by the fashion industry, even though I'm not really a fashionista myself, but I do like pretty clothes. So obviously this dystopian that deals with said fashion industry sounded endlessly entertaining to me!

And I really liked Material Girls, it was a pretty fun read, and it made me REALLY want to buy pretty dresses (which is not really the point of this novel). I liked both Marla and Ivy, though I was kinda wishing Ivy would grow a bit more of a spine, but well, she's a flawed character and I could relate to her struggle. Ivy really wants to be a better person, but at the same time, she doesn't want to lose her spotlight and wants to take care of her family and it's hard for her to see a way to combine all of these things.
And Marla goes from a blind rule follower to a bit of a rebel, but the one problem I had with her character is that it never really felt like she was making the decision to go in this new direction. It all just sort of happened to her.

The world that Elaine Dimopoulos has created was really interesting and it made me think about our society and how we're very much a consumerist society and while I happily join in on this, I can see the downside and the wastefulness of it. The whole way of controlling society by giving 8th-graders a career path they can't really change was awful, and to make children that age already work because otherwise they will be too OLD to be in style? Wow. Just. Wow. I did kinda love seeing how Elaine Dimopoulos also showed us the consequences of this sort of program for the kids who don't get picked for a creative career path and the confusion that someone who's not in this line of work can still enjoy the job they do. The whole perception of things is off and it was a bit mindblowing to read about Ivy asking a doctor is she was happy in her line of work, which to her was inconceivable.

To go along with this storyline, there was a pretty cute lovestory, I liked the tentative romance blooming between the two.
Because the book is not all that long, and we see the story unfold from both Marla and Ivy's POV, it lacked a bit of depth to their characters. I did feel like I knew both of them, but I would have liked to have a little more insight into their motives and what makes them the way they are. They have a backstory, and it's ok, but I would have just liked a bit more.
I did like that there's not big happily ever after where the whole dystopian society has been disbanded and all the problems have been solved because of a couple of teenagers rebelling. Because that's just not very realistic and such things take time, so I appreciate where Elaine Dimopoulos left us at the end of Material Girls.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review of A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin


Title/Author: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1) by Kathleen Baldwin
Publisher/Date published: Tor Teen, May 19th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies — plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible — until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads — or their hearts...

You probably all know that I have a thing for historical fiction/historical romance. And basically the title of this book sold me, I mean, what's not to like about a school for unusual girls??

I really liked Georgiana, she's a character that I could definitely relate to, not interested in conforming to society's expectations and a scientist at heart. I love that she can't help herself when she thinks 'what if', it's made her jump out of a window trying to fly and accidentally set her father's stables on fire cause she wasn't allowed to do her expiriment inside the house in a safer environment. She's smart and driven and doesn't take no for an answer, and she also has her vulnerabilities, which made me like her even more.

So Georgiana and I were doing pretty well and then we enter Stranje House and there's a whole extra set of characters for me to be intrigued by. I mean, the other girls there are REALLY interesting, all with their own set of skills, some with a hint of paranormal that I enjoyed. I loved how they're all so fierce and how even though they've been burned before, they're still more than ready to include Georgiana in their group. And also, Miss Stranje herself sounds like the most awesome of ladies and OMG there's a romance brewing there that's just YES.

And of course there's a romance for Georgiana as well. I could very much get behind the ship, because Sebastian sounds dreamy and they do the banter thing that I love and actually share an interest in science. The only thing that didn't work so well for me is the speed at which their relationship progresses to love. I mean, wow, they haven't even really known each other for a week or so? I get that they've been in some situations together that have the potential to speed up things, but they were just a bit shy of insta-love for me. They did have wonderful chemistry though and there was a moment that had me reading with tears in my eyes, so the feelings were there for me.

I wasn't really impressed with the characterization of Georgiana's parents though, they're a bit cardboard and it felt unrealistic that parents would leave their daughter at a house they think she's going to be tortured. I mean, WTF? But as they're not a big part of the novel, I could get over this.
Of course there's also a villain, Lady Daneska, who seems like a complex character, but I'm not really sure what to make of her yet. There's probably a reason why she's so vile, but for now she just seemed to be evil for the sake of being evil mostly.

I did very much like the backdrop of Napoleon's exile and am very interested in seeing where Kathleen Baldwin takes us with her somewhat alternate history. I'm a bit sorry the sequel won't be from Georgiana's POV, but as I really like the other girls as well, I think this won't be a problem, cause I'm really intrigued by Tess!

My rating: 4 stars